Publisher: 2k Games
Release Date: October 3, 2005
Ahh, the jungle. It's full of ancient trees, thick vegetation, streams, and canyons. It's also full of enemy snipers, booby traps, claymore mines, and deadly ambushes. Welcome to Vietnam, where the lush scenery only conceals about a hundred million things waiting to kill you.
Pterodon recently gave us advance warning of Vietcong 2 in the form of a build that really gave a taste of what their upcoming shooter will have to offer under the multiplayer hood. Vietcong 2 is a largely realistic take on the Vietnam war as seen through the eyes of soldiers on each side, and plays closer to a tactical title than the arcade side of the spectrum. The build we received had three modes of play and two maps, a capture the flag mode in a heavily vegetated jungle valley and both deathmatch and team deathmatch in a military depot.
In the DM and TDM modes of Vietcong 2, you pick the look of your character (or in the case of TDM, which side you want to play on) and jump into the fray. Weapons lie waiting in certain areas, ranging from tiny submachine guns to Tommy guns, AKs to M-60s, shotguns to smoke grenades. Much as one would expect, it is your goal to paste as many enemies as possible within a set time or score limit. While playing the game, the player can jump or sprint at the expense of a slowly replenishing stamina bar; players with low to no stamina will only be able to walk and essentially become a duck target at a carnival shooting gallery. Going prone not only reduces your profile but also gives you more control over your weapon, although moving is a slow and tedious affair. Finally, although your weapon can be fired from the hip, it is much more effective to hold it up and aim, partially obscuring your vision and reducing your movement speed to a walk while at the same time greatly narrowing your cone of fire.
In the capture the flag mode, the multiplayer aspect of Vietcong 2 takes on a much more RPG style of play. Starting off, a player can only pick one of two basic classes and basic weapons, but he gains experience by killing enemies or capturing flags. With experience comes promotions, and with promotions come the ability to play as the more specialized classes, such as gunner, sniper, or medic. One of the basic Vietcong classes can create booby traps, composed of placing one stick in the ground then placing a stick with an explosive trap somewhere nearby, causing a string to be set between them. Anything that trips that trigger is guaranteed a quick ticket back to spawn. The corresponding US class can place claymore mines, which are just as effective but used slightly differently.
What we found fairly incredible around the halls of WorthPlaying was the fact that Pterodon seems to have crafted a very efficient engine for Vietcong 2. On the one hand, the game looks noticeably picturesque and vibrant, with player models detailed quite well and the environments themselves full of small touches. On the other, the game runs much smoother than most FPS titles, and when paired with the fact that it doesn't appear any corners were cut in the graphics department, Vietcong 2 not only is a game that looks good, but it won't require a top-end machine to get the full effect. The sound in-game is largely that of gunfire and wildlife, and nary a soundtrack was heard in either level of play, which highlights the ability (or need, as the case can be) to listen to distant footsteps crashing through the jungle underbrush. When those footsteps get too close? Gunfire. Loud, staccato burst of gunfire giving its two-fold reminder of the fact that you're not only in combat, but you seriously need to take cover.
All things considered, we were fairly impressed with the multiplayer aspect of Vietcong 2. The combat is fast-paced, but at the same time stays true to a more realistic take on infantry warfare. The deathmatch and team deathmatch modes were fun enough, sure, but what was really interesting was the experience system found in the capture the flag mode and the ability to somewhat customize your classes' loadout. Look for a public demo of Vietcong 2 shortly, and more information on the title as a whole as it nears its upcoming ship date.
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